April 13, 2016

Your Questions Part II |The Business of Blogging

Business of Blogging

My at home work area! {photo credit: Kathryn Friedman shot for Glamour.com}

I received a lot of questions pertaining to the business of blogging and I tried to answer as many and as honestly as possible. If I didn’t get to your specific question, hopefully I answered it in another question. Read on for the answers!

Q: When you take pictures, do you ever get shy when people are around?

I wish I was one of those people that could easily take photos in any condition, but even after all of these years, I still get awkward and uncomfortable when loads of people are around. I’m able to get into a much better zone when the street is quiet, which is not the easiest task in NYC! If I have no choice but to shoot, I just give myself an internal pep talk and tell myself to man up! And if necessary, a glass of wine, prior to shooting, always helps take the edge off.

Q: What time of day do you usually take photos?

It really depends on the day and what our schedule is like! Of course it’s ideal to shoot early in the morning or during the golden hour, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen! If we’re shooting mid-day and the sun is intense, we’ll try to pick an area that’s slightly blocked off by buildings, so we’re not getting the harsh light.

Q: Is Keith always down to go shooting?

I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who at times, actually pushes me! Whether it’s to go shooting or to just step up our photography/blogging game. Even during this entire pregnancy, there were days where I felt unmotivated, unattractive and simply not in the mood to shoot and he would convince me to just do it.

Of course we have days where we’re both feeling inspired and great about life, but on the flip side, there are days where we have to push ourselves to get it done. It could be for a certain project or to just make sure  that there’s enough content, but that’s the reality of it. Harsh weather conditions always make it more challenging or planning a day around getting a post in, but it’s something that comes along with the territory of running a blog!

Q: I’d love a peek into the business side of running your blog. How do you coordinate and plan shoots?

 Everyone has their own process of working and how they go about running their blog and for me, each day and post is different! For example, when Keith and I shot for the David Yurman New York series (the rest of the series herehere and here), we had a strategic game plan. First up, I wanted to make sure I carefully selected outfits that not only represented me, but that jived with the  brand and pieces we’d be shooting. Sometimes that can take hours of trying different things on and piecing them together. Then there’s choosing the right location. We’re constantly location scouting, but part of that process is making sure our location meshes well with the look and if it’s for a project, then with the brand. If I’m wearing a trench coat and heels, shooting in front of a floral field will never make sense. I need something that’s urban and a background that helps tell the story.

Then quite honestly, there are days where we simply wing it. If it’s a weekend, we will plan when and where we’re shooting based on our plans for the day. If the plans should involve shooting in order to stay on track, then we’ll plan something fun based around that! For example, if I’m wearing a certain outfit and I know I want to shoot in the West Village, we’ll shoot and then head to a favorite restaurant. It’s important to keep things fun!

Q: What camera and equipment do you shoot with?

We use a Canon 5D Mark II and while we’ve collected quite a few lenses over the years, we mainly shoot with the 70-200mm f/2.8L  & the 85mm f1.2L. The equipment does not come cheap, but along with having a good site and good editing programs, it’s important to have the best equipment. It’s all about investing in your business!

Q: What do you use to edit your photos?

Photoshop and I have many friends who love Light Room.

Q: What apps do you use to edit your instagram photos? 

I usually start out with Snapseed to adjust brightness, shadows, highlights and ambiance and then I’ll bring it into VSCO to turn down the warmth, sharpen and to pick my favorite filter. The filter will vary with each photo, but it’s usually one of the A’s. I also love Facetune for the patch and whiten tool.

Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of running what is essentially a small business?

I have a few favorite parts.  One would have to be all of the experiences that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. This blog has allowed me to travel to some unforgettable destinations like Australia, Brazil, Italy and Germany, something I would never take for granted!

Another favorite part is the satisfaction I feel when I wrap a project or shoot that I’m incredibly proud of. If it’s a partnership and we get feedback that the brand is happy, it’s such a rewarding feeling.

My least favorite part is that it’s almost impossible to completely  turn off. Between planning out content, location scouting, shooting, waiting for the right lighting and editing, my brain is always on. There are days where I’m working on a post until the wee hours of the morning, something I have to get better at not doing.

Even with the baby being due any day now, I know the next few weeks (months?) will be challenging with creating content so naturally, that part worries me a bit. I know some people will say “just enjoy the baby and worry about being a new mom,” but it’s so much easier said than done. It’s hard to take maternity leave and not worry that people will forget that you even exist!

Q: What inspired you to start blogging?

I started this blog almost six years ago, in dire need of a creative outlet and never in a million years, did I think this blog would become my business. It really just started out as a way to challenge and express myself. Instagram wasn’t even a thing back then and I’d laugh in your face if you told me that brands would begin to approach me. I went into it with zero expectations and zero intentions of it turning into something more than just a hobby.

Q: Do you pay for most of your clothes or get them gifted?

There’s no doubt that one of the major perks of running a blog is all the gifting we’re approached with. But believe it or not, when it comes to my actual wardrobe, I pay for most of my things. I’m the weird one who rarely pulls from showrooms or wants to accept an item I might possibly not wear. I just prefer to have full control over the pieces I’m putting together and not feel the pressure of having to photograph something. Of course if I’m shooting something for a project, 90% of the time, the item is gifted, but again, I’m only trying to choose things that will speak to my overall aesthetic.

With beauty, there’s more gifting involved because naturally, the products have to be tested to form real opinions, but if I don’t believe in something, you wont see it on here. And quite honestly, I end up buying 75% of the products I blog about after seeing them on skincare instagram feeds and beauty blogs. I know with a little research, I can probably approach the brand, but again, I never want to feel obligated to post something after it’s gifted to me.

Hope that makes sense!

Q: What is the best blog-related thing that has happened to you?

At the risk of sounding cheesy, the best part is all of the people that I’ve met! Not only have I made some lifelong friendships, but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented, brilliant and inspiring people who make me want to work harder and creatively push myself. Life is short and the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s about surrounding yourself with people who will bring out the best in you. Whether it’s personal or business relationships, it’s the people that are around us that will make us thrive.

Q: Do you stress out about taking new photos for posts and having enough to get ahead in your editorial calendar?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stress out! Especially if it involves shooting for a project with a deadline and making sure I do a job I’m proud of. The best weeks are when I have lots of great content to roll out and then on the flip side, the worst is when I’m completely tapped out!

Q: Have you taken on any projects you regret?

Oh yes. I wont go into brand specifics, but as someone whose had a blog for years, I’ve learned a lot throughout the years. Part of that process has been learning from my mistakes and going with my gut on whether I should say no. One thing I will say, I’ve regretted taking projects on (more in my earlier days), but it’s rare that I’ve regretted turning one down. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, even when there’s a good paycheck involved.

Q: Overall, if you had one piece of blogging advice, what would it be? 

My biggest piece of advice is to remain true to yourself. That might sound like an obvious answer, but with every other person having a blog these days, it’s easy to spot the people who are either doing it for the wrong reasons or are trying to be, what they think others want them to be. It’s important to have a strong POV,  strong photography and even if you’re not the most brilliant writer, to connect with your readers on some level. The other night, my good friend, Danny, paid me the biggest compliment. He said “when I read your posts, I can hear you talking to me and that’s not an easy thing to do!” It seriously made my night because while I know I’m not the most eloquent writer, if my friends are able to hear ME in my posts, that makes me happy. My point is, blog from your heart! If not, people will see right through you and not want to tune back in.

And there you have it! Lots of brainstorming, planning and more often or not, just winging it! Hope you found this helpful and if you’re interested in Part 1 to your FAQ’s, you can find it HERE.



  • Alyssa

    This is such an inspiring post! I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about your blogging experience. xx


  • Sarah tondello

    This was really helpful. I’ve been a regular reader of your blog for years (honestly, I think since the beginning). It’s been inspiring to watch you grow and develop. I love that your blog is still down to earth. Following you is one of the reasons I got on Instagram (gave me a little “instablog” outlet). Best wishes to you, your husband and your new baby!

  • Rena

    Thanks for the honest and interesting answers! It is really wonderful that you have a husband who takes not only the pictures for your blog but even is pushing you.
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Katie

    Great answers! I completely loved reading this!

  • Abby

    It is always so interesting to hear other bloggers behind the scenes stories.

    • Marina

      Very generous of you to share this insightful, useful information! I love your cool style and honest approach (also appreciate that you don’t resort to humble bragging).

  • Pinja

    I really liked both of these answer posts! So nice to hear your thoughts on things and what happens behind the blog 🙂

  • Kristina

    I enjoyed reading these Q&A’s! It is always so great to get an insight to such a successful blog.
    ♡ Kristina

  • Jade Mercedes Fraser

    I loved this! As others have said, it’s so refreshingly honest. It’s so interesting (and quite reassuring) to know that the stresses that face us smaller bloggers actually affect all bloggers. It makes me feel less lost! Or at least like we’re all lost together haha. Found this on Bloglovin and I’m now following! Thanks again 🙂 Jade x

    My Blog: Jade With Envy

    My YouTube Channel: Jade Mercedes Fraser

  • Alicia Lund

    Loved these Q/A’s!! I always hear YOU in your writing / posts which is why I love following along ;)) xx

  • Lynn

    Great insights and plenty of motivation/inspiration! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to ask and answer, this was totally fun!


  • Brittany

    I love hearing about behind the scenes of a blog! Since starting my blog last year, these types of post are always a big inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  • Shirley Doremi

    Very interesting post! I just wonder what your job was before you started the blog?

  • chelsea finn

    I love all of these tips! It’s comforting to know that someone has successful as you also gets nervous when taking photos for the blog!

    xx Chelsea

  • Carolyn

    loving this series! thanks for sharing!


  • Elizabeth T.

    Really enjoyed all of these great answers and blogging tips/advice. As a blogger who’s only started for about one year, your answers are very helpful and insightful 🙂 Thank you for sharing this great post! <3

    XO, Elizabeth

  • Saskia-myre denis

    I wish there was a like button! I love your blog! Truly authentic and inspiring. Xoxo

  • Lauren

    Great advice, thanks for sharing x


  • Aliya Shaikh

    Such an helpful post .Thank You

    mens tailored suits

  • sarah

    You’re so helpful! Loved reading your answers 🙂

  • Megan robertson

    In the Glamour magazine feature – where did you get your bed headboard from?? I am searching high and low for a upholstered headboard WITH the upholstered frame as well and it seems impossible to find one that doesn’t cost an arm and leg.

  • Stefanie

    Lovely and very interesting post! And you definitely have a very warm and personal writing style :)) <3

    xo Stefanie

  • Angela

    As a blogger just starting, out I really enjoyed your advice and reading this!Great Post. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    xo, Angela


  • brett

    Love your overall one piece of advice!


  • holy

    I love to read this kind of posts! Really helpful and I have to say you are an amazing woman. Good luck with your business and your child!

    • BrooklynBlonde

      Thank you so much!

  • Rose

    Is there a screen covering your monitor? If so, where can I find it?

    • BrooklynBlonde

      No, I’m sorry! Just a screensaver!

  • Maya

    This was such a helpful post! I’m a brand-new blogger and I absolutely loved getting a peek at the advice and experiences of a seasoned and successful blogger. I also read the other part and am about to order some of those Muslin cloths…

    I’m a model and already 25, so I built my blog in part as a potential second source of income that could provide me with a long-term way to stay in the fashion industry. However, I totally agree with what you said about doing it for the right reasons! I’ve been into writing my whole life and (when I was in elementary school I was the kid writing poetry instead of playing outside haha) and obviously I work in fashion now and LOVE it! Also I’ve been a big social media person for years and blogging is similar. So I do it even regardless of affiliates, sponsorships, etc. I can’t wait to see what the blogging world has in store for me!

    Anyway, thanks again for the transparency and thoughtfulness. You’ve had such a cool journey!

    Xx Maya from Maya Unmarketed

  • Adriana

    Loved to read all your answers about blogging!



  • Beth Norton

    Such a useful and honest post, thank you so much Helena 🙂 I love this and will definitely be looking back on it when I’m feeling a bit down-and-out about my own blog!

    Beth x


  • wsc biolo

    With beauty, there’s more gifting involved because naturally, the products have to be tested to form real opinions, but if I don’t believe in something, you wont see it on here. And quite honestly, I end up buying 75% of the products I blog about after seeing them on skincare instagram feeds and beauty blogs.

  • Keokah

    That last question and answer are totally on point. I’ve basically stop follow blogs except 2. I know style changes, but I see some bloggers who you know very well that’s not something they would ordinarily wear and I’m completely turned off by it. Also I understand small business, but when every post is sponsored, I’m just not into it.

  • Anne Benton

    Amazing advice and thank you for sharing your experiences! So inspiring!


  • Lakwania Allen

    This is such a great post! Please advise if the Console Computer Table is from Target.
    Thank you

    • Kerrie summers

      Hi Helena
      Thank you so much for answering my questions. I really admire you for doing this type of blog post because many successful bloggers seem to be very secretive about how they do it, you have been so honest with it all. I follow a couple of blogs and have to say this is the most informative and interesting blog post I’ve read in years. How you have managed to keep working so hard on your blog during pregnancy is amazing because both are hard work! Don’t be worrying about your blog when baby arrives, enjoy the special time with your new little family because your followers will always be loyal and wait for you. Wishing you lots of love and luck for your labour x x x

  • Flavia PENEREIRO

    Helena, this is Flavia from Brazil. We met when you went to SPFW. I loved your post and that you talked about going to Brazil. I enter on your blog at least one time a week since we met. I really like your work and the coherence of you blog. I hope you and you baby / family could be really happy. Best wishes to you all. Flávia

  • Annika

    I am so happy I stumbled upon this in my google search 🙂 This is what I needed to see today!

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